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Impossible......until it's not
I've sat in the shadows on this site reading amazing hunt recaps for years. I figured it was my turn to contribute.....Once upon a time in sheep country.
I never get lucky. It seems I have to grind out every bonus point, for every tag I draw. This year I got lucky....with 6 points I drew 1 of just 2 archery only tags for California bighorn in my home state of Utah.
Prior to my hunt opening there would be 14 other any weapon tags that would be hunting the same unit. Nearly every ram that I knew about or had heard about was killed by burning slugs before my hunt would even start. Would there be a ram left to pursue with my bow.......?
I had to get my butt into shape, and not squander this once in a lifetime opportunity. I had never hunted sheep, but have successfully killed a mountain goat in the high country of Utah. On my goat hunt I wasn't in great shape...that wouldn't be the case on this sheep hunt. As the summer months passed I spent time building my cardio by running the mountain trails above my house. I would send obnoxious video clips each morning to my family encouraging them to get in shape with me. A nephew had drawn a bear tag, and a brother in law had drawn a Nevada elk tag. I would end each clip with a saying that has stuck...."Sheep shape, elk shape, bear shape!" The hunt was months away but the anticipation was always burning in the back of my mind....or front if you ask my wife...."what was that babe, sorry I wasn't listening" became the norm for her. My mind was on sheep, visualizing how it would go down, and tinkering with my bow and gear. My OCD is apparently real.
Many deer tag holders and other any weapon tag holders on the same unit reached out with Intel, pictures, where they had seen sheep, pictures of their dead sheep which of course added to the anticipation and anxiety of the November 20th opener. Here are a few I was hoping to hunt.....they all died on the early rifle hunts.
I didn't draw a general deer tag in Utah, but luckily my Dad had. He also had a good CO elk hunt to help pass the time. Each hunt came and went with my mind always lingering back to sheep country. "Which rams would survive?" "Would there be any left to hunt?" "Am I in good enough shape?" "Can I really get in bow range of a good ram?" Were a few questions that were always rolling around in my mind. A few weekend scouting/camping trips with my Dad and kids to get a better feel for the country only fueled my sheep fever. August, September, early October rolled by......then rams started hitting the dirt. Reports were "you'll have an easy hunt" "The sheep will move down low" "Just shoot one off the road" were all reports coming back from rifle hunters. I wanted to believe them, but deep down I knew better. Getting into effective archery range of the ram I wanted I figured would be far from "easy" unfortunately I was right.....
Oh yeah! Love this thread already =)
Early November found us in treestands in the whitetail woods. I love hunting rutting whitetail bucks, but it was different this year with a sheep tag in my pocket. Driving across Wyoming on our way back home with two nice bucks in the back of the truck, my Dad and I began serious talk about the fast approaching sheep hunt. I would just be able to hunt the opening day, then have to work the week of Thanksgiving. I would then have the rest of the hunt off to get it done.
My 6 year old son named Cash and I were loaded and ready to roll as soon as I got off work Friday night. My Dad had arrived earlier on Friday morning and hadn't been able to put eyes on any rams. I was a bit worried, but confident we could turn something up. More than anything I wanted my little boy to be a part of it, and see his first ram! Saturday morning that is exactly what played out. It had snowed a skiff on the top of the peaks and was cold in the 20's when we woke up. We hammered down some breakfast, loaded our packs, and were on our glassing point as it broke daylight. Within a few minutes my Dad uttered those much anticipated words "there is a nice ram!"......
We quickly got him in the scope and got a good look at him. He looked good to me, but was in a nasty chute chasing ewes and not in a suitable place for a stalk. We loaded back up and drove down the road to get closer and a better look at him. As we came around a bend to where we wanted to spot from there were several trucks parked that had hiked up to a glassing point off the road. I assumed it was the other tag holder and my assumption was right. If there is a better guy to share the mountain, hunt, and experience with I wouldn't believe it. We had text back and forth prior to our hunt and it was good to finally meet him, his family, and friends in person. They had also seen the ram and had put glass on a couple others that they were happy to point out. This guy was also instrumental in spearheading to get the division to approve these once in a lifetime archery only tags in place. He is an absolute advocate for all bowhunters and we were lucky enough to share the mountain with him. Awesome!
The ram we had spotted was chasing ewes hard, kicking another younger ram in the ball sack, and putting on a show for us all to watch. After about an hour he worked into a little shelf and bedded down with his ewes. Now the awkward conversation of "what do you think? You interested in that ram? Do you want to go after him?" Being the gentleman the other tag holder is he said "no man, if you want to go after him have at it! We are going to hike up the canyon and look for another one" I made sure he wasn't bluffing by asking his wife and son if he wanted to go after the bedded ram. They assured me he was shooting me straight and gave me the confidence to make the stalk!
Looking forward to the rest! Thanks for sharing.
I grabbed my pack and my bow and started my initial ascent into sheep country. My boy and Dad would be spotters and do their best to guide me in. I got behind a knife edge ridge and started closing the distance. "Unbelievable I am stalking a nice ram with bow in hand" that thought continually ran through my head until my quads were burning, lungs burning and then it was "shoot I should have worked harder to get in shape!" So much for "Sheep shape, elk shape, bear shape!" It was misting a bit and fog was rolling in and out of the chute Limpy was laying in. He had a limp on his right leg and we named him Limpy. I got to the pre determined notch in the rock and peaked over.....My head barely crept over the rock and I was immediately picked off by a google eyed ewe....game over before it even started. I was pinned down at 110 yards. Limpy of course followed that skanky ewe over the ridge and out of my life....at least for that day. As I sat in that rock crack contemplating what I did wrong I heard a commotion above me. Coming over the ridge was a group of ewes with two rams in tow, one being a tank....crappy pics below, but you get the idea.
These rams eventually chased the ewes over the ridge and into a nasty hole. I hiked off and met back up with my son and Dad. We ate a Snickers hammered some water and headed back to the truck. We drove down the road to get an angle to glass up into the crag the two rams chased the ewes into. We were able to locate them fairly quickly and got the scopes set up on them. Cash was watching them and yelled "Dad! They just butted...." and crack!!!! It sounded like a gunshot had went off. Cash finished his sentence with "heads" and an astonished look on his face. Haha we sat there for the next half hour watching these two horned warriors bash each other's brains in. Each time they hit it would take the sound a second or two to reach us and echo off the canyon walls. Awesome for us all!
His face was similar to the one in the picture (which I can't figure out how to turn). As the rams battled I did my best to work within range. I was finding that I could cut the distance to 100-150 yards fairly easy, but going from 120 to bow range seemed impossible. So many eyes and the ewes were always on high alert. I was able to get some good pics of the biggest ram and made a silent decision that he was the one I wanted. He had an attitude, had the look, and I wanted him!
Great thread....keep it coming!!
Awesome hunt! Looking forward to more!
Good reading right here!
Good luck, Robb
That ended the opening day hunt. Cash and I had to head back home to the longest week of work of my life. My Dad stayed and found a couple more nice rams. One had dark, almost black legs that we ended up naming Blacksocks. He was a good ram, and a good backup to the ornery, fighter that is pictured above. Driving home I was exhausted, still on an an adrenaline high, but how was I going to get in bow range of a big ram? I had a long week of work to figure that out. Friday finally came and I was stuck at work until 10 pm. Instead of driving late and getting to camp in the wee hours of the morning I chose to wake up at 3:30 and get there at daylight. My Dad and two brother in laws would be in camp this time. My brother in laws would be with me for a couple days and my Dad would be with me through the duration of the hunt, or until I hopefully killed. Finally! Jacked up on a Rockstar, bow in the backseat, sheep tag in my pack, I was headed to sheep camp to get serious about killing a ram!
Great first day, can't wait to read the rest of the story!
I pulled into camp just as it was cracking daylight. My Dad and brother in laws were up getting breakfast and packing their packs. We headed down to the glassing point where they had seen a good ram the night before. It didn't take long and we were seeing sheep. Small ram, ewe, ewe, decent ram....then Big Ornery came up out of a crag in the rock pushing a ewe Game on! We watched him until he worked into a spot where we thought I may have a chance at him. I grabbed my bow and started the hike to a notch in the rock above them. I worked to the notch, shed my jacket, nocked an arrow and began to peak over. Just as I crested I came eye to google eye with a ewe at 25 yards....no ram. She busted and I continued over the notch. I caught movement down the chute and out stepped another ewe, then another and in tow was Big Ornery. I quickly got a range straight downhill at 80 yards....he stopped and looked up the chute and burned a hole through me with a look like "bring it!" The temptation to shoot was there, but I was not confident at all in the shot. The ewes pushed up the chute and over the top. Close, but no luck! I came off the hill encouraged, but still feeling like this would be impossible to have it come together.
In my perch waiting to see what would unfold
In my perch waiting to see what would unfold
My brother in laws watched as the stalk unfolded, then blew up. They hustled down the road to try to get eyes back on the group of sheep. They were able to glass them back up two ridges down at the head of a nasty cirque. I was feeling the last stalk, was tired, but ready for the next opportunity. My Dad and I discussed strategy and decided the best plan of attack was to take every opportunity presented to try to make it happen. We watched as the big ram pushed his harem into a hole that looked like a place they planned to bed for the day. After a quick peanut butter and jelly sandwich and some rehydration I found myself bow in hand working up a knife edge ridge to try to get above the group of sheep. I worked to the edge of a cliff face and could see a couple ewes feeding across the chute. I ranged them at 110 yards and peeked up over a rock looking for the big ram. Again as I peeked over a dirty ewe had picked me off at 70 yards with the smaller ram close by her. I was starting to get pissed at these ewes as they seemed to always be on the lookout. Pinned down I sat on that point for a couple hours as the sun began to go down. Finally the ewe gave up on me and dropped behind the ridge. I peeked over the edge below and caught movement. The big ram, head cocked sideways pushing a ewe in my direction!
I quickly got a range on him straight downhill 75 yards. Again not in my confident range. I eased down another 10 feet to the very edge of the cliff. If he came below me around the front of the cliff I had a 40 yard shot at him. He didn't, he pushed the ewe to my left, but closer. I ranged him again through a burned out dead cedar 60 yards. I'm feeling more confident and thinking I can make that shot if I can get him stationary and broadside. I ease my bow up and raise to my knees to get ready for the opportunity. He comes clear quartered away at 60. This is it, make it count! As I draw the ewe from earlier must have fed back over and busts me as I draw. She sprints down the chute probably yelling "there is something creepy up there, get the hell out of here!" They all come together as the ram pushes into the middle of the group. Now at full draw, waiting on him to clear. The ewes bust, leaving him in the open at 60 yards. I settle my green 60 pin behind his shoulder, level my bubble and release through my shot. The arrow is on its way looking good....
Refresh, refresh! Hell of a cliffhanger!
The arrow was looking good......until it wasn't. Just as it's dropping into his chest the arrow deflects and crashes, sparks into the rocks. "What the heck?!!!" "What happened??!!!" The sheep move up the far ridge and turn to look down at me. Big Ornery gazing at me again with a look of arrogance. The ewe wide eyed, telling them all that I was what she saw. At that point I was wishing I had a gun....just for a second. Big Ornery kicks the smaller ram in the balls and they push their ewes over the ridge out of my life. I was sick, deflated, pissed, confused. I put my binos up and scanned where the shot took place. About ten feet in front of the ram was one small dead cedar branch about the diameter of a sausage link sticking straight over in front of where the ram was standing. Unbelievable, no doubt that is what I hit and it deflected my arrow off its destination to the rams lungs and harmlessly into the rocks. I headed off the ridge shaking my head. As I got to my Dad I said "I dunno Dad this may be impossible" he encouraged me, but I could tell he was letting that doubt creep in as well.
Twinetickler, you're a good story teller, I am enjoying it. I feel your pain on the unforeseen branch messing up your shot, I am still haunted by the memories of missed opportunities on whitetail bucks back in the late 1980's because of those unforeseen branches.
Keep the good story coming.
Back at camp I was tired. We hashed over the days events, ate whitetail buck shank. (Thanks Paul for the tip delicious!) And made a game plan for the morning. As I was laying in bed I ran that shot through my mind over and over. "Was that my chance?" " Would I get another opportunity at Big Ornery?" "I blew it!" I had to be mentally tough and stay positive. The good thing was I was getting stalks and getting close, but I needed an opportunity 50 yards or in....preferably 20. That seemed ludicrous to even think to get inside 20 yards of a big ram. The next morning found us at our glassing points. We found rams, but all in ridiculous spots and no eyes on Big Ornery. We split up, one brother in law went high, my Dad, myself, and my other brother in law hiked in to check a couple other chutes. As I was panning across a nasty face I caught movement of a ewe in my scope upon closer inspection there was a shooter ram with her. He had good curl, but was broke on one side. He was in a place that was nearly impossible to get to. But weren't all of them??? My Dad moved up the bottom and sat down to glass. As he was sitting there he glanced over and noticed a big fresh lion track in the dust. He looked up the trail and noticed what looked like a whitetail scrape, but it had a big steaming fresh pile of cat crap in it. He didn't like the ambush position he was in and worked his way back down to us. We debated on making a play on the ram I had spotted. My brother in law summed it up with "uhhh good luck bro, you may have a chance, but like less than 1% chance of getting close." Haha he is a realist and he was right. Just then my other bro in law came through on the radio. He had found Blacksocks!
Blacksocks was a definite shooter, but was with a bunch of other sheep and in a tough, ugly face which would require a lot of elevation gain to get above. We watched him until he bedded and we made a plan of attack. It would require me to hike to the top of the peak he was on from the backside, then hopefully slip over the shelf he was on and kill him. Easy right!? So many times on this hunt I wish I was able to fly or teleport myself to a rock that would put me in position to kill. A guy can wish right? My Dad dropped me off and we mapped out my route to get to the top. My brother in law had to leave that day and he wished me luck. He said "kill Big Ornery, he's just a bad ass ram!" Duh bro, I want to and I'll give it my all.
He left and my hike started. The first 300 yards was the worst. Oak brush jungle, getting slapped in the face, jacket getting ripped, and each step was torture. I finally broke through it and started the vertical ascent to the agreed upon point at the top. I realized getting up to the sheep is the easy part, turning around and coming down is harder. I finally get to the top and am working through a saddle. I glance down and see tines sticking out of the grass. A big heavy 4pt buck shed! Sweet! I pick it up and forget about sheep for a minute while I look for the other side. Ok back on track, sheds can wait. I get to the top and start glassing below. I hear rock falling and glass in that direction. Ewe, ewe, ewe small ram. No Blacksocks. They are heading north to a saddle halfway down the ridge. I can make good time on the offside of the ridge and I hustle for the saddle. This is going to work, I'm easing down the ridge 150 yards from where I want/need to be. I glass down my side of the ridge and there is Blacksocks and a small ram 150 yards below me. They are bedded, his big old horn laying on the ground facing away. The little ram of course facing me......now what? Ewes on one side of the ridge, Blacksocks on the other. Again pinned down just outside bow range....
Beautiful ram! Excellent story so far! Keep it rollin’!
Damn this is a fun hunt....and my legs and lungs don't hurt a bit!
What should I do? I get comfortable where I can see BS. He's laid his head right on the ground with not a care in the world. The little banana ram is keeping watch. A half hour goes by, then an hour. I see movement coming over the saddle. A ewe then another and another, followed by 4 more then another nice ram. BS is pissed and gets up from his bed, trots over, and kicks the other ram squarely in the ballsack then horns him out of the herd. Sweet all the sheep are now on my side! I slip back behind the ridge and head back up the vertical climb to get on the other side of the ridge out of sight. Now I can try the stalk over from the other side. I get back to the top, glass down the opposite side of the ridge and see one ugly, green ear tagged whore ewe bedded on lookout duty. "What the heck? They can't be this smart?" I am perplexed as I have no play. After another hour BS eventually pushes the group again over to my side of the ridge. Ok this time I'm clear to go down the opposite side of the ridge and back to the original plan....right? Wrong. I start down the ridge....again. I get to the glassing point before my final decent, glass and another/different ewe is now on lookout duty on my side of the ridge. She wasn't feeding, wasn't doing anything other than laying on a lookout rock watching for danger. "You've gotta be kidding???" To you sheep hunters is this normal behavior or just coincidence/bad luck?
Back up the ridge I go for the 3rd time. I get to the top and put glass on BS. He is in a perfect spot just over the ridge running ewes and kicking rams in the junk. He finally gets sick of the group and no ewes willing to put out. He heads straight east, stands up on a chimney rock, turns my way and figuratively flips me the bird with his hoof. He drops into an absolute hell hole, not to be seen again. I sit there and laugh in disgust, this is IMPOSSIBLE I say out loud....I climb off the ridge as the sun casts a purple sunset on the canyon walls. My balls kicked, headed for the truck. It sucked climbing off that face. My Dad met me at the bottom with a shake of his head. We stood in silence glassing across the canyon at last light. My Dad spots a lone ram in a chute.....it's Limpy
We put Limpy to bed in hopes we could find him the next morning, and hopefully he moves down lower in the chute. We head back to camp, knees aching, with the realization of how hard this hunt could end up being. My Dad, brother in law and I talked about staying positive, being mentally tough, and staying sharp for when the moment of truth presented itself....if it would. We ate leftover smoked brisket from Thanksgiving, hashbrowns, and a snackpack for dessert. I was beat and hit the sack early. I didn't think much about sheep, but I was starting to miss my wife and kids. It's a mental grind, and I've found you have to block out everything around you and focus on the task at hand. I like a challenge, I like pushing myself, and these sheep were giving me everything I hoped they would. They were doing their part, being visible, and giving me opportunity. I had to be tougher, not get complacent and continue to grind. We talked about maybe waiting for the perfect stalk opportunity, that sounds good on paper but I knew that I had to make that "perfect" opportunity happen....
The next morning we wake up eat some breakfast and are ready to find Limpy. My brother in law slept great as my other brother in law had gone home the day before. They were sharing a tent and he snores louder than a freight train, and also talks/yells in his sleep. My Dad and I intentionally pitched their tent quite a distance from us.
My remaining brother in law decided to head high to a glassing point above camp that we had seen a nice ram on prior to the hunt. My Dad and I headed for Limpys lair. We found him, but he had moved higher and was chasing ewes in a nasty crack that wasn't feasible to attempt. He looked good up there and for a hobbled ram he was still able to maneuver that nasty country. "Well shoot, now what?" My Dad asked. We decided to head down and glass back up on the face BS was on. Admittedly I was hoping we wouldn't see him, I was not wanting to test my grit again on that peak. As luck would have it my Dad put glass on him (or at least a good ram) right off the bat. I had mentioned the other tag holder earlier, he had killed and without me even asking gave me all his info on where they had been seeing rams from opening week. One spot he mentioned was just up the canyon from where we were. I decided to hike up the trail where I could see the back of the canyon he mentioned which was a big, hidden amphitheater. I threw up my binocs and almost immediately saw two ewes moving hard in my direction. From behind them and coming out of a hole popped a big, heavy, set of horns. Not sure what ram it was, but i was sure he was a shooter! They were in a place that was easier to negotiate than the ram my Dad spotted. I hustled back to him. He heard me coming and looked up the trail at me. I motioned with my hands above my head and mouthed "big ram!" and pointed up the canyon where I had come from. He gathered up his stuff and we headed back to my glassing spot....
Been awhile since we have seen one of these great stories. Keep it coming
We got setup and it didn't take us long to relocate the ram. He had two ewes with him and looked good from every angle. Between us and them was a large cliff face that stuck out east to west. We couldn't see behind it, but it looked like a good nook to spend the afternoon bedded up in the shade. A ewe kept looking west at what we assumed were other sheep. Sure enough 3 more ewes and a smaller ram joined them. They eventually fed behind the cliff face and out of sight. There was two plays, one would be stay low and work around the base of the cliff. The other option was to go high and work across a rock shelf that would put me above the sheep looking down on them. I chose to go high. I worked my way up the face into a small chute that would allow me to access the shelf I wanted to be on. We had lost visual on the ram and didn't know what was beyond the cliff face. I worked across the shelf to where I could just peek over into the hole I thought they may be in. I had also traded my black beanie for a gray one. I peeked over the lip and of course spotted two bedded ewes standing as sentinels watching for danger. No rams in sight. I backed off trying to decide my next move. One strategy we hadn't used was intentionally bumping the sheep in hopes of an ambush in their escape route. I decided against it since the ram hadn't seen me or knew of my presence. I decided to hike higher and try to get a different angle to locate the big ram. I inched my way up the cliff face to a big boulder that would allow me to look directly down into the hole I assumed they were in. Again I snuck up, peeking over, this time a kid had climbed to the top of a chimney spire and picked me off. The little twirp jumped off his rock to alert the rest of the group. I thought I was done and ready to take the walk of shame back down the cliff face. I took one more scan below me and noticed a mature ewe get up from her bed and drop down into a cedar covered shelf. I quickly gazed down the ridge below me and there was a lip that would get me as close to that cedar shelf as I could get. I headed down in hopes the ram was tending that ewe in that pocket....
Yes the mental drain of sheep hunting is often under appreciated! Its way harder to bowhunt too
Definitely thought the black beanie stood out in the photo. Gray seems a better choice.
Really enjoying the story, but work is suffering.....!
Yes and on that note I took a page out of Lou's book and made a redneck ewe heads up decoy.....mixed results
I tucked behind the spine of the ridge and started my creep down to the lowest shelf I could get to before dropping off a 50' cliff. I was staying tight to the face side of the shelf peeking around periodically to try to see any sheep before they saw me. Took one step, then peek, one step then peek, on about the third peek.....ewe! She was looking my direction, but didn't see me or at least recognize me as danger. I slowly peeked around the cliff face and stared straight into the eyes of the big ram! He was frontal, looked pissed, and I fully expected him to bust. I melted back into the cliff face, nocked an arrow and cockeyed got one eyeball above the edge to see. He was still there! Still staring my way. Did the gray beanie make the difference???? I'll never know since dead sheep don't talk.......
Excellent story! Encore???? PS??? Pictures??? Something!!!!
Congrats...but didn't you forget to add the final chapter?:)
Great story telling.....where's the pics?
AS IF . . . !!!!! there's a Mormon Mafia hit squad on their way to your door if you don't get typing!! They make Pat's Amish Invaders look like Girl Scouts.
I think Twine will be back to give us a real finish, probably attending to husband, daddy duties. Geez good story, I feel like I was right there with him!
This has been a very enjoyable read! Just what Bowsite needed right now.
Haha I wouldn't leave you hanging like that....
With arrow nocked I peek out again. The ewe has moved over with him. I take one step out onto a rock, he turns his head and his heavy, Medusa like horns follow suit. It's a stare down. Who is the alpha male? I start to shake, he is no doubt! I gather my composure, and slowly get a range on his forehead, right where his bases come together...."he's heavy" "don't look at his horns, focus" I get a range....65 yards. I can make that shot, I have to make that shot. I latch my release to the loop and put tension on the string. I take one more half step out to ensure I clear the rock edge. I'm ready, in kill mode, this is going to happen. I wait on him to make his move. The ewe flicks her skanky tail and jumps up on a rock behind him. He cocks his head, wild eyed, to get a whiff of her. He's now quartered away. This is it! I draw and he senses movement he goes to follow the ewe and I give him a nehehehehe. He turns broadside, 60 yard pin a little high. Pick a spot, take that extra second.....green wrapped, white blazer vanes, 4 fletch, Easton Epic, tipped with a 100 grain Ramcat arrow, slides out of my Elite and is on its way......
"Did the gray beanie make the difference????" To borrow a line from the MT guys on HT, only the ram knows. LOL!
Now finish with the good stuff!
The shot feels good, the arrow is looking good. No branch in the way this time. Right before the arrow gets there it drops low. It makes contact, but not where I wanted. I'm thinking front leg? No. No limp, no blood. I come out of my crag where I can see him good. He walks over to the far edge of the cliff and just is standing there. Is he going to go down? Is he even hit? A minute goes by, he's back to chasing the ewe. I blew it! I'm sick, might puke, maybe jump off the cliff??? This is IMPOSSIBLE! "I just need one within 50, preferably 20"....I see two sheep now on the far edge of the cliff. One is my ram and the other is the smaller ram that has joined him. I'm wallowing in self pity as the smaller ram nudges the big one with his horn, then kicks him in the balls. I feel like I was just junk punched, but keep watching the rams still only 120 yards from me. Just then a ewe comes up out of a crack between me and the two rams. The smaller ram sees her and heads her way. Are you kidding??? I watch as she makes her way back to the 65 yard shelf I had just shot the ram at. The big ram is pissed, still no sign of being hit, but isn't about to give this hot ewe over to Junior. The two rams and the ewe are standing at 65 yards. I nock another arrow. She jumps across a crevice and I get a range on her...55. The small ram follows, the big ram takes the same line, but knocks the smaller ram into a hole as there is only room for one ram.
I take another range...52. The ewe drops down into a hole and pops up closer....range again 40! I'm cool, calm, collected, in kill mode. I take a quick glance at the line the ewe is on. If she continues she's going to drop out of sight behind my side of the cliff edge at 30 yards. She continues, followed by the big boy, and Junior as caboose. The ewe drops in, Big Ornery drops in (yes I said Big Ornery)?? then finally Junior drops out of sight and I make my move.....
Had to be more! So awesome! Continue, please!
This is making wrestling practice bearable tonight. Let it fly!
As soon as they drop out of sight I scramble 10 yards up my side of the cliff edge. Glancing above me to make sure they didn't get through...no sheep. They have to be right in front of me 15 yards maybe 20. Noway this is happening?....it is. I get to a rectangular rock about half the size of a refrigerator. I peek one eye around the right side....ewe at 15 yards. She sees me even more google eyed up close. Looks like Nanny McPhee. Peek around the left side, it's Junior frontal at 17ish through a burned out tree. Peek back around right side, still Mcphee. I'm in their comfort zone, I sense this thing is ready to go south real quick. Peek back around the left side, Junior still there hasn't moved an inch. "Where is Big Ornery???" "Did he......." just then I catch movement in my peripheral to my right. I turn to see big, heavy bases appearing out of the crack to my right at 12ish yards. His head is cocked to his left, crazy eyed on McPhee. I go into autopilot, draw, anchor, peep. He's now straight away from me. 20 pin on his tail....no, wait he'll turn. He turns quartered away at 17. Pin behind last rib that will work. Wait...he turns to horn Junior. Broadside 18 yards, 20 yard pin a touch low. Arrow is on its way......This is impossible! Until it's not.....
Excellent story telling, reminds me of many hunts that seem impossible!! Thanks for writing it up,
This story belongs in a bowhunting mag with a glossy cover !
Right before I released the arrow I knew this was it. I knew this old ram was likely dead on his feet. I recall for a split nano second a pang of regret. The arrow hit its mark and one of the few times blood immediately appeared at impact. All the frustration, all the anxiety, all the raw emotion erupted out of me as he went on his death run. My Dad and brother in law had no idea what was going on. My brother in law had joined my Dad and they figured the stalk was over until they heard the canyon erupt with yahhhhhhhhhhhhhssss!!! Wahhhhoooooooo!!!!! My brother in law thought it was a pack of coyotes, my Dad thought I had fallen off a cliff, then it hit my Dad. We had just killed that big son of a bitch! I got on the radio and confirmed I was certain I had killed him and the hooping and hollering echoed off the canyon walls of that amphitheater. I didn't plan that, in fact I thought it through how I would react if I did happen to kill one. I'm reserved, calm, keep my emotions under wrap. Not that morning, not in that moment. It was just raw emotion I couldn't contain! To kill a big ram with my bow was impossible...until it wasn't!
I was just thinking....following along this far....there better be some pics or vids here!
It took me a few minutes to gather my composure, calm down, and speak coherently into the radio. I let my brother in law and Dad know my location. They asked if they should bring their hauling packs. I said "I dunno just get up here and let's put our hands on him!" Luckily they were smart and brought their packs. I got to a spot I could see them and could hear their conversation as they hiked up the bottom of the canyon. "I can't believe he killed him" "Unreal!". As they hiked up I went to the point of contact. I found my arrow and started following the blood trail. He disappeared over a cliff edge at about 50 yards. It was good blood the whole way. I got to the edge fully expecting to see him piled up. I didn't. A little panic set in. I told my Dad to get up where he could see the head of the basin. Rocks started to roll way up in the direction he had ran. I threw my binoculars up it was Junior, Nanny and a few other ewes. No big ram. That was good news. I jumped up on a rock covered in blood as I talked to my Dad on the radio. "I know I smoked him Dad, he couldn't have gone......." I looked down from the blood soaked rock and saw him piled up. "I got him!" I confirmed it with my Dad and waited for them to get up there with me before I even walked down to him, or put hands on him. He was OUR ram. It was OUR once in a lifetime hunt. We officially had sheep fever!
To address a couple things. The first shot did hit him, but just grazed his brisket. It opened up a wound, but didn't even phase him. We don't usually name animals, but to make things easier to communicate we did name the bigger sheep. "Big Ornery" had that distinct spidered/broomed right side and a distinct attitude about him. He had disappeared after my tree limb miss with him. We were surprised to learn this was him quite a ways away from where the tree limb stalk took place. He was the one I wanted and I feel humbled and lucky to have the stars align.
Great ending to a roller coaster hunt! Congratulations on a fine ram!!
And thanks for letting us ride along to! Awesome all around,
This guy, this dude is who I owe it all to. My old man is a bowhunting fool and engrained the passion in me at a young age. We are not bowhunting snobs, we just love to hunt with our bows. We discussed how this hunt would have been over before the sun came up on opening morning with a gun. I'm grateful to have a Dad teach me how to bowhunt and the life lessons I've learned along the way. This truly was OUR sheephunt, yes I put the arrow in him, but my Dad is my rock. Until the next one!
Congratulations on your beautiful, hard earned ram! I had a very similar flood of emotions pour out a couple weeks ago when I first saw my ram was down for good. If it affects you like it did me, you'll be on a sheep high for quite a while. Superb job telling your story. Thanks for sharing the adventure with us.
Thanks for taking us along and great write up. Congrats on a beautiful ram.
I’m guessing most of us owe our hunting addictions to our pops. I surely do. Treasure every moment/hunt with your old man, you never know…..I didn’t know it was the last but im glad I cherished it none the less
As for the meat. It is incredible. My kids and wife can't get enough of it. The inner loins were like candy and the backstraps are just as good. Speaking of my wife. She took our four kids to Disneyworld and allowed me to go sheep hunting. That's more incredible than killing a ram with a bow
A big congrats to your whole group. Thanks for taking the time to tell the story and posting up the pics. Well told!!
Spectacular all the way around! Awesome recap of an amazing bowhunt! Definitely a Bowsite Classic! Thank you so much for taking us along in the ride! Excellent!
I still can't figure out the pics, but thanks for the kind comments. It's been fun reliving the adventure.
Thanks for taking us along and great write up. Congrats on a beautiful ram.
Great ram, awesome story! Congrats! Thanks for sharing it.
Really enjoyed your hunt Thanks for taking us along and keeping us on the edge of our seat the whole time Fantastic!
Congrats and thanks for sharing it with us.
That was a fun read! Thanks and congrats!
Hey Walter, And think about this also, you got to eat deer shank on this trip. That had to be worth something--ram or no ram. :). OH, by the way, congrats on the story and better yet, CONGRATULATON ON A GREAT RAM WITH THE BOW. What you experienced is sheep hunting at its finest, and with friends, even better. My very best, Paul
Congratulations great story
Congratulations great story
Congratulations great job recapping a great story that you will remember the rest of your life.
Brings back many fine memories of my own hunts for Bighorns here in Colorado, 4 Ram tags and 88 hunting days, do not remember how many hunting days for Ewes on 2 tags. Some of us are slower at getting things done!!!
Great ram....and a great hunt recap. Definitely made my morning! Congrats and thanks for sharing!
Livin the dream. Thanks for sharing
you did it!!!!
What an awesome write up! Congrats on the ram and thanks for sharing!
That night we shared a ribeye. Is sheep camp withdrawal real? Yes.
Paul yes the shank was delicious. Like you we never used it....we will now.
Congrats on a great ram and great story!
Great story and ram. Thanks for taking the time to post it!
Well done all the way around!
Well told! Congratulations!
Thanks for sharing and congrats on the great ram!
Nothing like your first ram! Congratulations!
Congrats on a beautiful ram! Great pictures and recap, thanks for taking us all along!
Thank you for sharing. Your write up was a breath of fresh air.
Fantastic story. Thanks for taking the time to share it with us!!
Epic hunt and great story telling. Congrats to you and the entire crew. Thanks for sharing.
Yes Yes it was an epic adventure, one I will never forget. I am the old fart that got to pack the head and cape off the mountain! I would like to add that Twinetickler also helped the State Sportsman deer tag holder find and harvest his mule deer buck. The tag holder’s brother happened to drive by while we had an awesome muley buck in the spotter. After getting a few looks at the buck he decided to go find his brother and directed him to where he was able to shoot (with a gun) this trophy buck! What a bonus to experience that too. In my over 50 years of bow hunting experience this hunt was definitely the highlight of my bowhunting career. I always was scared of what would happen if I experienced sheep hunting, several friends were bitten by the sheep bug and were never the same after….. now I know why! Twine was able to convey the hunt perfectly and I have to admit I am pretty dang proud of my boy! Carry on Bowsiters!
Great story! Felt like I was tagging along looking over your shoulder.
Bravo on a great story and a great hunting experience. I'm going to get to share some whitetail hunting time with my 9 year old grandson this weekend, hoping to get him a shot on his 1st time of being a hunter.
Amazing thread and beautiful ram! Congratulations and thanks for sharing it with us!
Outstanding! Congrats! Now you will be thinking about how you are going to get the next one!
Great read, instant Bowsite classic.
Great story!! Another one to bookmark!!
Awesome on a stick..... Congrats! I know a sheep hunter or 3 likely reading this that have the same message. Sheep with a bow is a tough row and not the greatest odds. But it can be done, they have done it. You have done it. Congrats again!
Thanks much for takin' us along. Great story, great story telling. Pretty cool.
Nothing like your first ram! Congratulations!
congrats on a fine animal, Thanks for sharing an epic bowhunting tale!
Job Well Done! Those steaks look tasty.
Great hunt, and pretty cool getting to share it with your pops!
Loved every second of it! Great adventure! Huge congrats on the hunt of a lifetime!
I’m not even a piece of a sheep hunter, but coming back a half dozen times to this thread to reach the end was worth it ! Congrats !
Great read what an adventure --- and with your Pop's at that. "Just don't get no better!"
Great story thanks for sharing!
Your writing skills are excellent! Thanks for taking us along and congratulations!!
You are a fantastic story teller! Congrats on a beautiful ram and thank you for giving us such a wonderful recap!!!
What a fun story to read, you have a talent for writing! Thanks for taking us along, and congrats on the great ram.
We got that big son of a bitch. That gave me cold chills. Amazing adventure with family. Love every post. Thanks for sharing. Hunt
Excellent story, thanks for sharing and bringing a little of the Bowsite we all know and love back! Congrats on a great hunt, being successful and filling the freezer with the best wild game meat there is.
Great story and adventure. Congratulations
awesome story. Thanks for sharing. Congrats!
Excellent recap way to persevere Congrats!
Great read, great hunt, great outcome!! Congrats!
One of the best stories I’ve read in a long time. Congratulations!
Great adventure and a fantastic write-up. Congratulations!
Congratulations on your ram. I commend you on your persistence and determination! Well done.
Great hunt, well-deserved Trophy Ram.
All the nut-kicking, makes me never want to be re-incarnated as a subdominant Ram !!
That was awesome. Huge congrats to you and your dad!
Congrats!! Great write up, thanks for sharing.
Great hunt and story, thanks for sharing
Me thinks it was the gray beanie ;-)
Awesome write up! Congrats!
……green wrapped, white blazer vanes, 4 fletch, Easton Epic, tipped with a 100 grain Ramcat arrow, slides out of my Elite ……..
You have a chance at some money with writing and shooting like that!!!
Great hunt and great writing!
Congratulations. Awesome story! Thank you for taking time to write it.
Spectacular on all accounts. Thanks for posting!
EPIC story and a helluva Ram!! Congrats man!!!
……green wrapped, white blazer vanes, 4 fletch, Easton Epic, tipped with a 100 grain Ramcat arrow, slides out of my Elite ……..
You have a chance at some money with writing and shooting like that!!!
Congrats!! What a great accomplishment
Congrats!! What a great accomplishment
most epic story telling
thank you for taking the time to put it all into words that we could share the adventure with you.
That was one HELL of an adventure, thanks for taking us along!!
Thanks for all the kind comments. Sheep shank for dinner tonight. Delicious!
As many have said… Congrats on a fine ram.
What a great memory with your dad as well.
Amazing story and hunt.
Thank you a bunch for taking us along the journey with you and your family! Congrats and hope to hear some more of your hunts!
Not sure if any of my intel was of value to ya Walt but ya did just Great!
I just had to re-read this thread again man.
Good luck, Robb
Hey Robb yes thank you for the intel! I'll shoot you a PM as well.
Awesome, Awesome, Awesome- congrats!!!!
Great recap!! Congratulations!!
Awesome hunt and great ram, congrats to you. Sharing it with your father is priceless and icing on the cake.
Another awesome sheep hunt up. Why Bowsite is Bowsite!